Take a Breath Break

Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home. ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives.

There are those of us who are alive but don’t know it. But when you breathe in, and you are aware of your in-breath, you touch the miracle of being alive. That is why mindfulness is a source of happiness and joy.

Here’s a simple mindfulness of breathing exercise that helps to ground us in the present moment.

Mindfulness of Breathing

In, Out

The first part of the exercise is very simple, but the power, the result, can be very great. We simply identify the in-breath as in-breath and the out-breath as the out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath.

“Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.”

After saying these sentences we can abbreviate them by saying “In” as we breathe in and “Out” as we breathe out.

We don’t try to control our breathing. Whether our in-breath is long or short, deep or shallow, we just breathe naturally and shine the light of mindfulness on it.

Deep, Slow

When we do this we notice that, in fact, our breathing does become slower and deeper naturally.

“Breathing in, my in-breath has become deep. Breathing out, my out-breath has become slow.”

Now we can practice, “Deep/slow.” We don’t have to make an extra effort. It just becomes deeper and slower by itself, and we recognize that.

Calm, Ease

Later on, you will notice that you have become calmer and more at ease.

“Breathing in, I feel calm. Breathing out, I feel at ease. I am not struggling anymore. Calm/ease.”

Smile, Release

And then,

“Breathing in, I smile. Breathing out, I release all my worries and anxieties. Smile/release.”

We are able to smile to ourselves and release all our worries. There are more than three hundred muscles in our face, and when we know how to breathe in and smile, these muscles can relax. This is “mouth yoga.” We smile and are able to release all our feelings and emotions.

Present Moment, Wonderful Moment.

The last part of the practice is,

“Breathing in, I dwell deeply in the present moment. Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment. Present moment/wonderful moment.”

Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment fully alive and aware.


Practice Poem

“In, out

Deep, slow

Calm, ease

Smile, release

Present moment, wonderful moment.

If you use this poem during sitting or walking meditation, it can be very nourishing and healing. Practice each line for as long as you wish.

Compiled from:

The works of Thich Nhat Hanh